KEAAU – Kevin Waltjen wasn’t taking any credit for being the Kamehameha coach who finally broke through against Kealakehe.
Right place, right time, he said, after the Warriors used a similar offensive formula to beat the BIIF boys soccer powerhouse for the first time.
Jonathan DeMotta scored early and he scored late Wednesday in a 4-1 victory that dropped the Waveriders to an uncharacteristic third loss. They claimed their six consecutive BIIF Division I title their last time out at Paiea Stadium, but 10 months later it took DeMotta just 17 seconds to strike against a Kealakehe squad that appears to be in the midst of a rare rebuilding season.
With David Erskine, Rylan Respicio, Nainoa Kalaola-Maruquin and Israel Bowden helping Kamehameha (2-1) own the flanks, the opening sequence and the match itself went much the way Waltjen planned.
“They’ve done exactly what I asked them to do,” the first year coach said. “We ran the wings really well. Take the wing, draw to the lines to look for the drop in the middle for the pass. The middle, all they have to do is collect, send; collect, send.”
Not only is Kealakehe (1-3) less experienced and seasoned than usual, the Waveriders also are sure to get every team’s best shot after years of dominance. In their three losses, they’ve been outscored 14-2. The previous 10 seasons, Kealakehe only lost five BIIF games combined in capturing nine championships.
“I told (our team) that Kealakehe deserves our respect,” Waltjen said. “We have to play our best, because we have to expect them to play their best.
“In a year or two, Kealakehe will be something else.”
With Kamehameha leading 3-0 at halftime, assistant Sean Miday, a former standout goalkeeper, told the Warriors that he was jealous this group was the one to beat Kealakehe.
Just down the sidelines in a players-only meeting, junior Bryson Guanio implored his teammates to play for the name on their jersey. Gaunio put the Waveriders on the board with a second-half goal, but Kealakehe never recovered from the Warriors’ early onslaught.
Erskine scored off a Respicio cross less than three minutes into the match to make it 2-0, and near the 30th minute Buddy Betts won a ball and took it down the right wing, volleying a shot into the next from a tough angle about a yard from the goal line.
“I like the fact that we are playing the ball and supporting each other,” Waltjen said. “For me, offense and defense play both ways. The offense reinforces the defense.”
And when the wings do their job like they did Wednesday and spread the opposing defense, the middle is open for players such as DeMotta, a junior striker who also scored in the final minute.
“His job is to finish,” Waltjen said. “Sometimes you watch Jon, and to his credit, he’ll see if he can give it to somebody else to score. Sometime you have to own it and be selfish.”
The Waveriders must regroup quickly by Saturday when they host Hawaii Prep, the new D-I power.
The Warriors take finals before traveling to face Ka’u on Saturday, and they visit Waiakea on Dec. 22
“Ask me after that match, and I’ll let you know how we’re doing,” Waltjen said.
Waiakea 3, Honokaa 0
Gabriel Jenkins, Ethan Okahara-Olsen and Kai Biegler scored goals as the Warriors (2-1) won at Honokaa.
Goalkeepers Isaac Sumera and Taylor Todd combined on the shutout of the Dragons (0-2).
Hiwa Brown recorded a hat trick and Kiara Cuyo, Hevani Haunga and Kaila Ambrosio added a goal apiece as the Warriors won at home to even their record a 2-2.
Kiani Troy was credited with the shutout of the Waveriders (2-3).
Waiakea 7, Honokaa 0
The visiting Warriors improved to 3-2, dropping the Dragons to 0-4. Honokaa has yet to score.